It’s been 16 months since I’ve been using a Windows Phone now. Sixteen long months since I last held an Android phone as my primary driver. I was as skeptical as most of the users are when making the switch to Windows Phone. It’s not meant for everyone. But in the past sixteen months, I never regretted getting a Lumia 920. Next week, I’ll be switching over to an Android device (a Motorola Turbo) and it won’t be out of frustration or desperation. Here’s what I think about the Windows Phone and the reasons that made me switch back to Android.
I’ll have to admit. These past sixteen months have made me a Microsoft fanboy of sorts. It really saddens me that they have such a great product in the market that is looked down by most in the tech world, the developers, as well as the mainstream audience. My journey started with Windows Phone 8 and since then I’ve seen the OS evolve with subsequent updates from Microsoft. Windows Phone 8 wasn’t the greatest looking, or the most feature rich OS in it’s time, but Microsoft has come a long distance from those days. It succeeded in listening to the user feedback and improving the OS leaps and bounds in its current form. With Windows 10 for Mobile, I’m sure it will make further improvements to the platform.
So what’s so great about the OS, you ask? Well for starters, it’s not half as bad as the tech media will have you believe. The best things about Windows Phone have been in it’s smoothness and fluidity. On a device as old as the Galaxy S3, it still manages to run as it does on the current hardware (I wonder if you can say the same about Android). And the great thing about it is that it manages to draw the same level of performance on the lower end devices as well. Yes, Android has come a long way in the past few years as well, but seeing how some old Android devices take, what seems like an eternity, to open a dialer makes me really satisfied with my purchase. Apart from a few hiccups, my phone never let me down all this time.
Also, now that I’m switching to Android, I’ve already started wondering as to whether I’ll be getting future Android versions on my phone or not. With Windows Phone, this has never been a problem. Microsoft has managed to bring all its devices to the latest version of the OS so far (be it budget devices like the Lumia 520) and would be taking them to Windows 10 for Mobile as well.
Now, the platform isn’t all that perfect of course. It suffers from a few shortcomings and some of them are still left to be addressed in Windows Phone 10 (let’s call it that for simplicity’s sake). I don’t happen to use a lot of apps. Just a few of the essential ones like WhatsApp, a decent browser, a good news app and a few others. Most of them are available on Windows Phone, but that still leaves a lot for users who actually use a lot of apps on their phone. There have been instances, when my friends were using a certain new app and I got left out because it wasn’t available in the Windows Phone Store, or by the time they came, all the hype had already died. But that’s only half the part of the story. What’s more disappointing than the Store lacking some essential apps is the fact that the ones that are there, are usually far behind in features compared to their Android or iOS counterparts. You could take WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and many other high profile apps as an example. This has been something I’ve found to be more frustrating than the missing apps.
Besides apps, the OS also isn’t as polished as it should be. I like the Metro interface, but those black spaces in certain apps (like Outlook) look rather ugly. There’s a better way to implement this design and I’m hoping Microsoft does a better job with Windows Phone 10. Also, the notification center is a mess that looks like it’s been made in the last minute (which it has been, but there’s been enough time after that to improve upon it). I’ve seen several fan made designs out there on the internet and can’t understand why Microsoft doesn’t take cue.
Even after these shortcomings, I’ve been happy with my phone. So why change? Well, because I’m bored of the hardware to be honest. Microsoft has released many phones in the last year, but not a single flagship. The Lumia 930 is hardly a compelling upgrade over the Lumia 920 and I find it to be ridiculously overpriced in my country. The Droid Turbo on the other hand brings some welcome change for me. I’d be missing things like wireless charging, Glance Screen and muting messaging threads (I’m not sure if they’re available for Turbo), but I think it’s time to switch over to the Android camp and see what progress they’ve made in these sixteen months.
This is not a final goodbye, for I plan to return to Microsoft in the future (perhaps my next phone). I’m just hoping till then Microsoft can keep the same level of growth as Android has recently. Also, I’d still be rocking a Windows tablet, so it’s not like I’ll be totally blind to what’s going on in the Redmond camp.
If you’re planning to get a Windows Phone here are my final thoughts. At this stage, even though Android looks like a better deal, but with Windows 10 on the horizon, the platform has never looked more appealing to me. For people who’re looking for a change from Android, or need a new phone that will last atleast 16-18 months, I can call Windows Phone a safe bet. Let’s hope Microsoft gives us a new flagship sooner than later for those of us who need that one final reason to switch to this platform.